By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign over the United Kingdom was the longest in the country’s history, has died. She was 96 years old.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” read a statement released by Buckingham Palace, referring to the queen’s palace in Scotland, near Aberdeen.
The queen’s many years harbor experiences from across the globe, including in our neck of the woods. The queen stayed a few days at a ranch near Sheridan in the 1980s.
Queen Elizabeth in Wyoming
In 1984, Queen Elizabeth spent four days in a quiet retreat at the Wallop family’s 4,000-acre Canyon Ranch near Big Horn. She was a guest of Lady Porchester, sister of Wyoming U.S. Sen. Malcolm Wallop. Lady Porchester was the wife of Lord Porchester, the queen’s racing manager and an old friend of the Windsor family.
While in northeast Wyoming, the Queen traveled to the Bradford Brinton Museum to view paintings by famous western artists such as Frederic Remington, and expressed her gratitude for the privacy and restraint granted to her during the visit.
While in Wyoming, the queen visited Ritz Sporting Goods in downtown Sheridan where the owner, Sam Mavrakis, presented her a fishing rod and flies to give to her husband Prince Philip.
Mavrakis and Prince Philip got to know each other in 1969 when the prince first came out to Wyoming for a five day hunting and fishing trip.
Mavrakis tied some flies for the prince and then took them out to the ranch.
“I went out to the Wallop ranch to deliver them. Well, Prince Philip was just a regular guy. One hell of a regular guy,” Mavrakis told the Washington Post.
That’s how most people saw the royal couple, he said. Not a big deal.
“This isn’t Washington, D.C., you know,” he said. “Nobody goes crazy just because there’s a queen in town.”
While at the ranch, the queen received a phone call from President Reagan during her stay where the two discussed the bombing of a hotel in England where British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been staying.
Thatcher, who was not injured in the blast, spoke to Queen Elizabeth shortly after the queen’s conversation with Reagan.
An Historic Reign
Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, in April of 1926, the queen began her reign on June 2, 1953, at the age of 27 following the death of her father, King George VI.
At the time of her death, Queen Elizabeth II was head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms. Fifteen prime ministers served under her reign, beginning with Winston Churchill and including the most recent, Liz Truss, whom the queen appointed just two days ago.
The queen was preceded in death by her “strength and stay,” Prince Phillip, who passed away at age 99 just last year. Married 74 years, the two had four children – Charles, born in 1948; Princess Anne, in 1950; Prince Andrew (born in 1960), and Prince Edward in 1964. They had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
World Leaders Mourn
World leaders such as Emanuel Macron of France and President Isaac Herzog of Israel expressed their condolences on behalf of their countries.
“Queen Elizabeth was a historic figure: she lived history, she made history, and with her passing she leaves a magnificent, inspirational legacy,” said Herzog.
Macron commented on Twitter that Queen Elizabeth embodied Britain’s continuity and unity during her 70 years on the throne.
“I remember her as a friend of France,” he said, “a kindhearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”
Transition For Commonwealth
Queen Elizabeth, while associated mainly with the United Kingdom, was also the monarch of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, a commonwealth that also included 11 other countries around the world. All together, 150 million people acknowledged her as their queen.
In June, the Commonwealth celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, honoring her for 70 years on the throne, although her health was such that she did not participate in many of the events.
With her passing, the Queen’s eldest son, Charles (formerly the Prince of Wales), has assumed the throne at age 73 as the new King. Prince William, 40, and Prince George, 9, are now first and second in line to the throne.
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” Charles said in a statement released shortly after news of the queen’s death broke.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
The United Kingdom will go into a period of mourning over the next 10 days, while funeral arrangements are made.
Editor’s Note: Cowboy State Daily will have more extensive coverage on the queen’s past visit to Wyoming on Friday.